Monday, September 27, 2010


I travelled over on the Wednesday for the Barcelona leg of the European Masters of Poker tour.

Having opted for day 2A on the Friday, George Power whom I was sharing a hotel room with, and myself decided on a few beers in the Casino to pass the evening. After a gallon of grey goose vodka we headed off into the Barcelona night.

I'm not 100% what our plan of attack was, but this is when I won my only flip of the weekend. George got robbed, well pick-pocketed to be precise. Actually, it was probably a 40/60 I won, as I was in a worse condition then George, so probably the easier target.

The tournament started very well for me. I wasn't hitting hands but my timing seemed to be good and I nicked a lot of pots and was getting all the marginal decisions right. I had the chip_icon.jpg20k starting up to chip_icon.jpg32k after the first four levels and was close to chip_icon.jpg40k by the end of level five.

I lost a biggish pot with Unkown suit AUnkown suit Q on an Ace high flop to a turned two pair. If I'm honest I made a bad call on the last two streets in that hand, as I was fairly sure I was behind. I had picked up that my opponents bet sizing had changed and deep down knew I was being taken to value town.

I was still playing a healthy chip_icon.jpg25k when I picked up the boots. It was the perfect time as I had raised the previous three hands. When I was re-raised I decided a shove had a decent chance of getting looked up light enough. As it worked out there was no way my Scandi opponent was ever folding his Jacks and unfortunately he hit another on the flop.

There was a fairly amusing hand involving the guy who took me out a little earlier. Our table was next to the rail and after a while I was suspicious that a Spanish kid on the table had a spotter who was relaying info on people's hole cards to him. After a hand played out with a woman on the table I was sure I was right and was just about to have a word with the TD when the following hand occurred.

The Spanish kid calls a raise and the Scandi bumps it up to about four times the pot. The original raiser folds and the kid tanks. The spotter moves to the other side and starts signalling the kid who then over shoves pocket fours. It was very funny to see the Scandi snap with Unkown suit QUnkown suit Jos and win the pot.

There must have been about twenty Irish over for the tournament, a huge increase from the two, Connie O'Sullivan and myself, that played this event last year. The form horses of Irish poker at the moment Dermot Blain and the unstoppable Sean Prendiville finished 8th and 3rd of the 400 starters, so kudos again to both.

I enjoyed the structure; it started fast with 4 x 45 minute levels and an hour thereafter. Most of the lads liked this as you get into the antes quickly. I'm generally of the opinion that most tournaments have too much play early and too little late and this incremental increase in blind time frame definitely allows for a more balanced structure.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

UKIPT Dublin

I came down with a bad cold Wednesday. By Thursday, day one of the tournament, I was running a high temperature and truly miserable.

I battled through the day ok, the first five levels went well, at one stage I had about 30k in chips from the fifteen starting stack. I went completely card dead the last two levels and finished the day on twenty.

I got to play for a bit with two players you generally don't expect in a monkey Dublin event, Vanessa Rousso and Miami John Cernuto.

Back in July before day two of the main event John was drawn on Derek Murry left. He never showed due to Illness and was blinded out. At the second break that day in the smoking area of the Rio, Derek was blaming John's no show for the loss of most of his chips.

Derek was getting into pots he normally wouldn't because of the dead blind. I informed John - "F%&* that Miami he's costing me my tournament here" - of Derek's words in the Rio, which he got a good kick out of.

Rousso was on the table for the last hour, I was stone dead at this stage and didn't play any hands with her, but she definitely carries herself very well an seems a good ambassador for the game.

When I got back for day two I was really sick. My chips went in on a four bet shove, holding 810os against a laggy enough big stacks AK. I've probably never been happier to get knocked out of a tournament and I was home in bed in Waterford within a couple of hours.

I did return Sunday and played the charity game. Myself, Marty and Paul Carr had a prop bet, who had the most chips at five o'clock. All three of us had exactly zero chips by that time, a fair feat considering we sat down at three thirty.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Drawless and Pairless

Connie runs a €250 event in the Cue Club, Killarney every year and I've attended the tournament since 2006. It's always a lovely weekend, with a really good vibe in the club.

I headed down Thursday night as myself, Con, Dave and Keith Cummins had arranged to play two rounds of golf on the Friday. The first round was on the truly magnificent Killeen course, which recently held the Irish Open and after lunch we spent the evening on its sister course, Mahoney Point. If there's a better setting for golf I've yet to see it. The scenery is really something else.

The tournament started Saturday and for the first four or five levels I was going nowhere. As the blinds rose, I started to get a few spots to pick up chips. In one particular hand, I shipped with Unkown suit AUnkown suit 10 from the small blind after a few limpers and Eamonn Foley was kind enough to pass AK in the big.

This came back to haunt Eamonn, as a while later I won a race to knock him out. I was going along grand with about a half an hour's play left in the day, when I raised Unkown suit 2Unkown suit 2 UTG. I checked shoved on a J 4 2, two-heart flop hoping my opponent would put me on the flush draw. This ruse worked perfectly, as he called with Unkown suit 3Unkown suit 3.

The 60k pot would have put me over chip_icon.jpg100k and given me a top three chip stack the next day, if a three hadn't hit the turn. As it did, I went back with forty. My opponent told me later in the hotel bar, that he knew he was behind but felt the three was coming. That conversation was enough to send me to bed early, well about 4am anyway.

Eighteen returned on Sunday, with a chip_icon.jpg44k average - my stack exactly - and eight people paid. With ten left I had worked it up to about eighty. Cue Club regular, Shella, had been on my table the previous night and all day Sunday. The lady was a min-raising machine and was having a good day.

I raised the button with K3os and Shella min-raised me for about the thirtieth time in the tournament. I peeled a flop, as I was sure of my read on her, when she missed a flop and sure enough she missed it - so I shoved an extra 22 bigs over her 5x lead.

It had never crossed my mind that Shella might have had the same read on me, as I had on her but obviously she did. She called me with AQ no draw on the Unkown suit 9Unkown suit 5Unkown suit 4 rainbow flop.

As always, I really enjoyed the few days in Killarney. It's a great place to visit for a festival and with the big one in October on the horizon, I can't wait to get back.